I dragged myself up and out to church this a.m. as I really wanted to see the first candle lit for the Advent season and see through new eyes the way St. Cross Episcopal Church celebrates versus what I have been accustomed to all these years. I wasn't disappointed--and the anticipation of waiting for the new, for rebirth of myself, my dear ones, and the world began--again--in my life. Ritual and symbolism is so important to me in every aspect of my life. We did not celebrate Advent when I was a child; I became aware of it when I converted to Catholicism in 1958. We celebrated a few Christmas customs when the kids were growing up--the lighting of the Advent Wreath at meal time and celebrating the Feast of the Las Posadas with other families. I long ago stopped packing the wreath in one of the 20 plus boxes kept in the garage; it was right in the chest in the dining room where I left it last year--and it's ready for lighting tomorrow.
My spirituality is undergoing a major overhaul; I'm unpacking many aspects of my Christianity which is packed away just like those boxes in the garage. I also made myself a personalized Advent calendar today in my new Print Shop for OS X--adding prompts for writing or reflection beginning tomorrow.
I also made an extraordinary decision today--to have a minimalist Christmas. Last year I scaled down from a huge tree to a table top tree; this year I will only get out the ornament boxes and a few of the table top decorations. Forget the outside lighting and decorations, the storing of every knick knack to bring out the 50 angels and heirloom decorations. Christmas was often a painful time in my childhood because my parents were so dualistic about its meaning and the commercialism--even back then. I think I've been trying to make up for it ever since by creating a magical wonderland--like the old May Co. window on Broadway in downtown L.A. when I was a kid. New, new, new; it's OK, Frannie, to think new, to think different.